Monday, January 21, 2013

Anne's Birth Story, Part 2

You may recall that after a couple days of labor-like symptoms, I was admitted with the expectation of delivery within the next 5 hours. That didn't happen.

Labor continued to progress very slowly. For a couple hours, we walked the hallways of the maternity wing, pausing for contractions. When they finally started to increase in intensity, I opted to go back to my room and rest for a bit. I also noticed that I was having a lot of back labor, but at this point my back muscles were relaxing between contractions, so it wasn't a huge problem. I'd had back labor with Peter, too, in the early stages. He was posterior and turned around during active labor.

It soon became clear that Anne was not going to turn around. She was sideways. Her head was down, but she was resting against the right side of my uterus with her feet near my left ribs. The back labor was intense, even with Jeremy providing counter-pressure during contractions. I decided to relax in a warm bath, which felt great - but stopped labor completely. I knew things had to get worse before they got better, so I gave up on the comfort of the bath.

For an hour, I was on my hands and knees, trying to get her to turn. No dice. By this point, my back was perpetually tense and just getting worse with each contraction. The midwife suggested sterile water injections; I decided to give it a try. She warned it would "sting" as the water was injected. I don't know if my back is particularly sensitive or what, but the injections were far more painful than labor. The pain subsided quickly, but WOW that hurt.

Around 1AM, the midwife suggested I just try to sleep and see where I was in the morning. They offered medication to help me sleep, but warned it wouldn't stop the pain, just make me tired. I was already tired and knew that I wouldn't be able to sleep through these increasingly painful contractions. She also offered to rupture my membranes, but I didn't want the possibility of an induction if that didn't work, nor did I want the increased intensity in contractions I knew that would create.

My contractions now were awful. The pain from the strongest ones was so overwhelming that it made me vomit. Being in the warm bath helped a little, but not enough, since that meant Jeremy couldn't apply counter-pressure. The time had come to consider what had not even crossed my mind during Peter's labor: an epidural.

My reasons for not wanting an epidural were wanting to know when to push and the slight risks of nerve damage or the drugs getting into the baby. I said if I was in the transition phase, I could make it without the epidural. A quick cervical exam showed I wasn't there yet. I opted to take the risks, since at this point I was going to be too exhausted to push productively when that time came.

They explained the entire epidural procedure, including a warning the the initial local anesthetic injections would "sting." "Like the water did?" "Yes." I braced myself for that pain again... and this one felt like getting a shot. You know, not fun, but no big deal. After that (I would guess the epidural was around 4:30 AM), the rest of this labor was a cakewalk.

Once the pain block kicked in, they asked again if I wanted my membranes ruptured. I agreed, since now it was obvious this baby was coming. The midwife did that; another cervical exam shortly after showed I was ready to go. She coached me when to push (I was relieved I could still feel myself pushing, even though I couldn't feel contractions any more), and Anne slid out at 6:15 AM. Incidentally, she got into the right position with the first push... c'mon little girl, if you had the room, why didn't you do that hours ago?! :-)

Come back Friday for lessons learned!

She was worth it.


  1. I'm staring to feel that no birth will actually go how we want it to. I had doubts too about the epidural and hadn't wanted it at all, but since I had been having intense contractions for 2 days prior to making them admit me, the lady in triage pretty much said I needed it (perhaps my loud wails at each contraction was too much for them...) and then Andrew and I slept part of the night and we woke up early in the morning to push out the little boy.

    I liked that too that I could feel myself push still, but I couldn't feel the contractions and that the nurses could see it on the monitor and so I pushed when they told me I was contracting. Glad your epidural worked! Would you consider it again or do I have to wait for Friday to find out? Because I'm not sure if I should try natural birth this time around or go for the epidural since it worked so well last time. Curious.

    1. I think I'll address that on Friday. If not, I'll come back here and elaborate. :-)

  2. Yes, despite the intense pain & lengthy labor you endured, she will always be worth it. Love, Aunt Monica